Thursday, October 21, 2010
This is a little much, even for NPR. Juan Williams gets fired for admitting that he gets nervous sometimes when he sees a man dressed in Muslim garb seated on an airplane. What exactly is Williams's offense? He's not allowed to be afraid? The whole point of terrorism is to make people afraid, an emotion that is notoriously difficult to control. One can't just get up in the morning and decide, today if there is a young man dressed in Muslim garb next to me on my coast to coast originating in Boston, I will not be afraid. 3000 dead will do that to you. Or is it that Williams's dared confess his fear? He didn't sound as if he was proud of his fear. He wasn't saying we would be fools not to be afraid. Is there some rule that says we must pretend not to be afraid, even if we are? And then, to actually fire somebody for expressing these fears. That is pretty outrageous, for a news organization that makes some pretension to being objective. Of course, it is perfectly obvious they are not. NPR is just a more civilized version of MSNBC, a perfectly reliable liberal organ. But firing somebody over something like this is over the top.
I heard the story of a man, supposedly the friend of a colleague, who was scheduled to be on one of the planes the flew into the WTC, but decided not to get on the plane when he saw a group of Muslim men earnestly conferring at the gate. Something, the story goes, didn't look right. It seems relevant to me that one of the most fundamental principles of self-defense, that you will hear in any decent self-defense class, is, listen to those feelings. Not be controlled by them. But you ignore them at your peril.